Drive Your Culture Via Real-Time Feedback

Understanding Net Promoter Score

I’m sure you’ve heard about NPS, or Net Promoter Score. It’s a simple way to measure the likelihood of a customer referring a business or organization to friends and colleagues. A high NPS means more of a businesses’ customers are likely to refer them. These are the promoters. A low NPS means not only will fewer customers refer them, but they will talk negatively about them. These are the detractors.

Now, NPS is a great way to measure the success of a business externally — that is, through the eyes of its customers. But how do you measure the success of a business internally, through the eyes of its employees — arguably the most important measurement you can capture?

Introducing Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS)

How do you know if you have a great culture that excites and inspires people to turn up every day and do their best work?

The answer is eNPS, or Employee Net Promoter Score. eNPS is the result of asking your employees a simple question:

How likely are you to refer an open position at our company to someone you know?

Measuring Employee Happiness

So what’s the best way to measure the happiness of your employees (eNPS), and how often should you do it? There are two schools of thought here.

The first is that quarterly or even (gasp!) annual surveys are fine. You email a survey to your employees (using a combo of SurveyMonkey and Mailchimp, for example), collate the results, work out your eNPS and you’re done. You might also throw in a field where they can leave comments to help you understand their perspective.

The second approach is more real-time. Instead of waiting three months or a year to hear from your employees, you get up-to-the-minute feedback on how happy they are with their job. If they’re unhappy, you can immediately give them a path to tell you why — either directly or anonymously. You and your team can then act on that feedback instantly without waiting months to hear about their concerns or ideas. Or worse, having them resign because you took too long to ask and act.

The second approach is what modern companies like Google, Twitter and Southwest are doing and it’s creating amazing results. The feedback loop goes from months to days and in some cases hours. Employees all get an equal voice regardless of title or role and constructive ideas and feedback pour in every day from all around the company.

Now don’t get me wrong. Starting with a quarterly eNPS survey and acting on the feedback already puts you ahead of 90% of other companies who do nothing. But to really amp things up and create not just a good culture, but an incredible culture that draws the best talent and keeps them around for years, real-time feedback is where you need to be.

Getting To Real-Time Feedback and a High eNPS

If you read Glassdoor’s Employees’ Choice Awards for 2014 and really dig into the reviews provided on these companies by employees, you’ll notice a common thread. Every single one of these companies not only provides a way for everyone to share ideas and feedback in real-time, but all employees also have an equal voice and a path to better themselves and their company as a result.

What’s the best way to get from quarterly or weekly feedback to real-time feedback? First, it starts with a mindset change. Then you need the tools.

Tools can be anonymous surveys, iPads at entry and exit points of your office that ask how happy your employees are (eNPS) or even simply opening up your calendar so anyone in the company can schedule some one-on-one time with you.

The point is to commit to it and try something. The statistics around low employee engagement are alarming, so make sure you focus on the happiness, engagement and productivity of your employees early and often.

So there you have it. A look at eNPS and a path to get from quarterly surveys to a real-time feedback loop that gives you insight and lets you take action in hours, not months. Your employees know how to improve your culture. It’s instinctive to them. You just have to ask and give them a way to share their feedback with you.

About the Author: Rob Finnick is the content strategist for StackHands, an employee engagement platform that helps HR managers collect ideas and anonymous feedback from their employees to make their company a better place to work.

photo credit: Stefano Gilles Tambalo via photopin cc